According to this article, US has recorded a slight decline in PISA scores:

The PISA is a worldwide exam conducted every three years that measures 15-year-olds in 72 countries. About 540,000 students took the exam in 2015.

The US saw an 11-point drop in the average score for math, while remaining relatively flat in reading and science.

According to this answer, Standard of Living correlates with higher education:

The standard of living includes factors such as income, quality and availability of employment [...] quality and availability of education.

So, education quality is important for maintaining a high standard of living.

Questions: Has the US Government acknowledged this slight decline? If yes, have any measures been taken to counterbalance this tendency?

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    The question in the title is opinion based, but the two stated in the end are somewhat verifiable.
    – Communisty
    Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 13:48
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    @Communisty - Yes, that's correct. I have changed the question from the title to make it more answerable (less primarily opinion based). Thanks.
    – Alexei
    Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 13:50
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    Without the raw data, it is hard to identify the contributing factors into the decline. Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 14:23
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    Is there any evidence that the US sees this statistic as one that needs to be maintained at a higher level than it currently reaches? Does this slight dip indicate a need for change based on these expectations? Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 17:53
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    @SoylentGray makes a good point as most students who take this in the US probably have little idea what it actually is. Whereas, in Asia, there are some counties that use it as their standardized test. So, the difference in importance given might play a role
    – discodane
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


Has the US Government acknowledged this slight decline?

Yes, the federal government, specifically secretaries of education, have acknowledged the decline.

This article quotes secretary John B. King Jr. saying we are "losing ground" after the 2015 PISA, and quotes secretary Arne Duncan saying that the 2012 PISA was a "wake-up call against educational complacency and low expectations"

If yes, have any measures been taken to counterbalance this tendency?

Yes and no.

First and foremost is simply the extensive shared responsibility of education amongst the department of education and each individual state. For the US to have any unified measures taken in response to falling PISA scores would require either a large unified and coordinated effort by the states, or a more powerful department of education. This is not to say that the department of ed couldn't do anything, but that leads to my second point.

With changing administrations comes changing methods. Regardless of your opinion towards them/their strategies, Obama's and Trump's education outlook vary drastically. Obama pushed for common core which seeks to have a more unified federal approach by "commonizing" standards of excellence across the entire country as explained here. Alternatively, Trump has sought to decrease the power of the department of ed giving more power/responsibility to the individual states. (He's been quoted that he would eliminate the department if he could.)

I mention both presidents outlook toward education because although it may not be in direct response to PISA, it is their effort in creating a better educational experience in the USA, which theoretically should affect PISA scores.

So, yes, by virtue of trying new things(common core or decentralization) means the US government is responding to something they would like to be better. Also, no, it is not in direct response to the PISA scores

  • This answer might benefit by raising that the problem and policies related to it is not new. See for instance the No Child Left Behind Act, and I wouldn't be surprised if there had been prior debates on the same topics in earlier presidencies - likely since the oil crisis, when the middle class began stagnating. Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 4:56

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